Department of Energy and Climate Change
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Opportunities identified for oil and gas sector workforce

A new online tool will help skilled workers in the oil and gas sectors find job opportunities in the wider engineering sector. 

  • pipeline of energy sector projects likely to create demand for highly-skilled engineers
  • UK government publishes new blueprint to manage oil and gas sector skills
  • longer-term modelling could enable industry to deal more effectively with the cyclical nature of the market

A new online tool will help skilled workers in the oil and gas sectors find job opportunities in the wider engineering sector, supported by the pipeline of large energy and infrastructure projects.

The existing Talent Retention Solution scheme, which is currently used by over 1,000 companies in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, will now be supplemented by an additional website specifically for those working in the oil and gas industry. EngineeringUK estimates that the economy will need over 180,000 people with engineering skills per year to 2022.

The measures are outlined in the Oil and Gas Workforce Plan published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to ensure the industry can better plan for future workforce requirements over longer-term timescales, given the highly cyclical nature of the sector.

Business Minister Anna Soubry said yesterday:

The future success of our economy depends on having the people with the right skills in the right jobs, and that’s why it’s vital we retain the talents of our highly-skilled workers currently in the oil and gas industry.

There is already considerable demand for these skills whether it’s for nuclear new build, the fast-growing renewable energy sector or the nascent decommissioning industry.

UK government Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd said yesterday:

The UK government stands 100% behind our oil and gas industry, the workers and families it supports, and the people who have worked tirelessly to steer it through these challenging times.

Our workforce in the UK is one of the mostly highly skilled in the world, and their valuable skills are transferable right across the engineering sector. The action we are taking today will ensure that we hold on to that talent and provide more opportunities for those most directly affected by the low oil price.

David Mundell Scottish Secretary said:

Engineers and skilled workers in Scotland’s oil and gas sector are world class, and many industries could benefit from their expertise and experience, from major infrastructure projects to new and innovative energy solutions.

While the sector has been tested over recent years, time and time again it has shown a capacity to rise to the challenges confronting it, and that is due to the resilience and skill of the people working within it. This tool will allow other industries to reap the rewards of the talent pool of the UK’s oil and gas workers.

In addition to the new online portal, the government expects workers in the oil and gas industry to benefit from the extension to Advanced Learner Loans. This means it is now possible to apply for loans for qualifications at Levels 3 to 6, which will be important for enabling workers in the oil and gas industry to study at higher levels and gain the skills to transition into infrastructure or other engineering sectors.

The pipeline for planned public and private infrastructure to 2021 and beyond is £425 billion. According to data published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills last year (2015), the energy sector is already facing a substantial skills shortage, particularly for highly-skilled engineers and technicians.

Notes to editors:

  1. Oil and Gas Workforce Plan.
  2. The current Talent Retention Solutions online portal.
  3. The latest National Infrastructure Pipeline.
  4. Existing measures to support the oil and gas sectors include:
    • a new Inter-Ministerial Group comprising Amber Rudd (Energy Secretary), Anna Soubry (Business Minister), David Mundell (Scottish Secretary), Andrea Leadsom (Energy Minister), Oliver Letwin (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster), Lord Price (Trade Minister), David Hinds (Exchequer Secretary) and Andy Samuel (Oil and Gas Authority)
    • a £1 billion fiscal package to reduce the additional taxes historically imposed on the North Sea, as well as to introduce targeted measures to encourage investment in exploration, infrastructure and late-life assets
    • a £20 million package of new investment in exploration, innovation and skills
    • funding for the £250 million Aberdeen city region deal
  5. Level 5 courses include Higher National Diplomas; National Vocation Qualifications at Level 4; BTEC Professional awards; certificate and diploma Level 5; and Diploma of further/higher education.


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